Musician You Should Know: Saint Solitude & Dup Crosson
Saint Solitude is an Oakland-based band that describes their music as “bittersweet fuzz” – or in my own words, indie with a unique mix of beats, synth, and lyrics that will carry your heart away with them.
Creator and lead musician, Dup Crosson, believes that Saint Solitude has always been “a communal call to action for better times.” He’s one of those people who thrive in a life where he can simultaneously work on multiple projects. That want and need to keep creating is why I wanted to share his story with you here.
Circling back to that unique genre of music that Dup is currently playing, “Not everyone seems to understand what “bittersweet fuzz” means, but I started using it with my first album and I do think I’ve managed to stay consistent to that sound in my head. I always hear a sentimentality or longing to my music, and I come from the 90s, so there’s a lot of dramatic dynamics – and distortion,” says Dup.
While his current band has its own unique genre, Dup has worked in over 15 different genres over his career ranging from pop, jazz, bachata, and even Musical Theatre. Nowadays, beyond Saint Solitude, Dup has been expanding his musical prowess to include other streams of income that leverage his talents. As a response to the pandemic, Dup teamed up with a few other artists to create EDBL Music Collective, a production house that records original music specifically for licensing and eventual passive income.
“My life is somewhat dominated by knowing the value of novelty. I’m motivated by avoiding routine.,“ says Dup.
Genuine and gifted are two words that I would use to describe Dup himself but as a musician, he could be best classified as a composer who plays several instruments; though drums are his favorite. They were his first official instrument, after all. His other instruments are guitar, bass, piano, and vocal performance. You could classify him as a person who qualifies as a one-man band but he also values collaboration. His upcoming album Sugar Pill has collaborations sprinkled throughout.
For many Bay Area musicians, it’s not uncommon to find them with 4-5 music projects happening multiple times to create a few different streams of income and also to keep the work interesting. On top of that, you need to be your own media promoter while you battle against the algorithms that seem to be pitted against you.
Dup started Saint Solitude in 2006 and is no stranger to juggling multiple projects himself while trying to continue to press forward and keep creating. He talked to me a bit about what advice he might give to those seeking to walk a similar road that he’s on.
“So much of what I’ve done comes from a, I’ll say, compassionate neuroses to write and record and explore. I have a slight fear of stopping and losing momentum. While that helps me stay prolific and productive, it also harbors anxiety that is actually not necessary to the artistic process, as much as society would have you believe.
These days to be successful you have to be able to run a media machine by yourself – graphic design, video editing, social media, and booking skills are all required. So to me, even though this isn’t exactly how I did it – I’d say spend the time finding good people with whom you can form and chase a shared vision. I’d say don’t try to do everything yourself. It’s okay to compartmentalize! Those people might be band members, a manager, a visual artist to collaborate with, or a publicist. The process might take longer but I think it will help your sanity.
Learn a genuine way to network that doesn’t turn people into ones and zeroes in your head. Because these days, to the socialites go the spoils,” says Dup.
What’s Next For Saint Solitude and Dup?
What’s really cool about a self-proclaimed multi-instrumentalist like Dup is that he’s always up to something. You can always expect to see something new popping up for Dup such as working with musicians on a new album, playing drums with others, or composing music for networks such as Viceland and CMT.
His next Album Sugar Pill comes out September 30th and it’s delightful. There’s a familiarity to it that makes it easy to listen to and you’ll find yourself relating to the lyrics and having it on repeat. I can’t put my finger on exactly who Dup sounds like but that’s probably because he has his own unique point of view. Until the official debut, you can get a taste of the album with its first single “Sugar Pill” which is already on Youtube – the visuals are complete eye candy. The album cover artwork showcases a new technology called generative visuals by Los Angeles artist David Dickinson.
The single, “Sugar Pill” was meant to bring positivity back into this world and it does just that with lyrics such as “Tell me there’s a world that I can uncover, And you can believe,” you can see and imagine a world that is different… that contains beauty and hope. It suggests that there is something to believe in; beyond the hecticness of the last 2+ years.
“For the first time, I wrote songs for a mood I needed badly to reconnect with – joy – even when I didn’t always feel that way. It was songwriting for a distant or slightly magical feeling. And then it just got more fun as I asked a ton of friends to contribute,” said Dup. “The process helped me realize there is a completely innocent value in tricking yourself to become happier. I might still be singing about my typical fodder of confusion, abandonment, and revolution, but hope and awe are the active ingredients,” says Dup when speaking about his new album Sugar Pill.
Thinking about how far he’s come and where he’s headed next as a musician, Dup seems to keep these options open while also knowing there is something amazing right around the corner for him. He says, “I’m feeling like I’m ready to hit a reset of some kind. I’m only concerned with getting through 2022 right now though. I’ve checked off most, if not all of my musical goals – one of the last ones being pressing something to vinyl, which I’m about to do.
The future might involve residencies or moving very far away, but if I had to guess I’d say my music will be more collaborative moving forward. The new record has more guests on it than all my others combined, probably, and I’m seeing how much healthier that is for me as a person and as a player.”
Dup has started a crowdfunding campaign to press Sugar Pill to vinyl – a first for the musician. Beyond going to his next show (August 14th at The Makeout Room), this is how you can support Saint Solitude and Dup the most directly. This album is all about spreading joy and by supporting this campaign, I do believe that you will be encouraging and supporting over a dozen musicians who helped create this album.
The video for the Saint Solitude Sugar Pill Campaign is so funny and actually has a cameo from our friend Brian Enright the metal sculpture artist we featured a few weeks back.featured a few weeks back.
Rapid-Fire Questions for Dup:
Q: What’s your favorite local venue to listen to live music & favorite local venue to play at?
There are so many. I go to The Chapel the most, so I have a lot of memories there. I also love The Greek, the Great American Music Hall, the Ivy Room, and The Starry Plough.
I always have a good playing at the Make Out Room.
Q: Favorite music store in The Bay Area
Mountain Music on Piedmont Ave in Oakland.
Q: If you could see any person/band live in concert, who would it be? (alive or dead)
I see a lot of shows, so I’m gonna have to go for the impossible here, and that would be Billie Holiday, absolutely.
Q: You said on your website that it’s your “de facto mission to give drummers a good name again”. Have you felt you’ve been able to achieve that?
All I can say is, that people who work with me know I’m reliable and am always up for new ideas. I had a songwriter once say I was like “a golden retriever on acid” to work with. He meant it in a good way…
Where Can You Find Dup And His Project Saint Solitude Online?
Support Saint Solitude:
The Bay Area isn’t an easy place to play your own music. Even if you do find the perfect venue, it could close any day now. So as listeners, the best thing we can do is to follow, favorite, listen and support musicians in our area.
Their next show is THIS WEEKEND, August 14th, at The Makeout Room
Line-up: Saint Solitude, Owen Adair Kelley, Horse Milk.
“I triple dog dare you to leave your house,” says Dup.
Saint Solitude is also doing a crowd-funding campaign for their latest album to help them press Sugar Pill on vinyl. This will be Dup’s 7th album release.
Sugar Pill collaborators are listed on the Saint Solitude website.
All photos are property of Dup Crosson and Saint Solitude